A report into enforcement of the private rented sector has recommended that England should introduce a national landlord registration scheme, and follow in the footsteps of Wales and Scotland.
Called Improving Compliance with Private Rented Sector Legislation, it finds that while much thinking about regulation and research on enforcement in the sector focuses on deterrence – using formal processes to control bad behaviour – this fails to account for the wide range of other tools and approaches that can be effective in achieving compliance.
The landlord report, from the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) , says councils face increased demand for their services but diminishing resources, and believes that the number of prosecutions or other formal activity aren’t appropriate measures of success.
It believes there is a need to improve the data available to local authorities on the sector, using an effective and responsive database that evolves in real time.
In England, this would also include a national system of registration, it recommends, but somewhat bravely calls for councils to be given adequate funding to ensure they can adopt appropriate and effective responses to the evolving sector.
The report also makes other recommendations including new sentencing guidelines for the criminal courts and tribunals so that landlord punishments are proportionate to the nature of the offence.
John Duff, chair of the SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust, says: “This is a comprehensive piece of research which we hope will stimulate debate across the industry, and ultimately create solutions to the issues identified as we work to continually improve the sector.”